Community welcomed to home filled with butterflies
.nRZOHGJH DbRuW buWWHUfliHs and their habitats was plentiful last weekend, when Dave and Audrey Harding opened up their Souderton home for visitors from the community to enjoy WKHiU FRunWOHss buWWHUfliHs.
Ranging from Monarchs to the caterpillars that sprout them, the Hardings seem to have all the small beautiful creatures of the world inhabiting their property. Audrey, a lifelong baby sitter and child caretaker, allowed the children she watched to learn about WDNinJ FDUH RI WKH buWWHUfliHs DnG how to play with them gently.
Audrey recently retired from taking care of children in her Souderton home, but two of the boys she’s watched since birth still stop by to play with the buWWHUfliHs. AusWin 0F1iFKROs, 8, and Spencer McNichols, 13, were on hand on Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19, to help show the children and adults KRZ WR KROG buWWHUfliHs in D ZDy that wouldn’t harm them.
There were also lessons on caterpillars, which hung in a ZRRGHn DnG ZiUH “buWWHUfly house” on the Hardings’ properWy. CRPPuniWy PHPbHUs fiOWHUHG in all afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. to learn as much as they could about the little creatures.
Ken Moyer, of Harleysville, was also in attendance to help the Hardings with the crowd. He told interested guests about the GHFOinH in WKH 0RnDUFK buWWHUfly population due to a decline of the integral milkweed plant populaWiRn. 0RnDUFK buWWHUfliHs DFWuDOly lay their eggs on the milkweed plant so the baby caterpillars can munch on its leaves. This in turn makes the caterpillars a deadly catch for any bird looking for breakfast because milkweed acts as a poison, Cardiac Glycosides, that isn’t piousness to caterpillars but is to their predators.
The Hardings also showed a video about the life of the MonDUFK buWWHUfly in WKH OiYinJ URRP RI their house, inviting all attendees to enjoy the video about a hidden place in Mexico where the Mon- archs hibernate in the winter. The Hardings once travelled down to Angangueo, Mexico, about a IRuU- WR fiYH-KRuU GUiYH nRUWKZHsW of Mexico City, to witness the phenomenon of millions, maybe HYHn biOOiRns, RI buWWHUfliHs fluWWHUinJ DURunG WKH WUHHs DnG flRZHUs outside of this remote village.
Audrey Harding explains the Monarch lifecycle to Spencer and Austin McNichols and Cassidy Gulley inside of the Hardings’ butterfly house next to their home in Souderton.
A Monarch butterfly rests on a sunflower inside the butterfly house outside of the Hardings’ home in Souderton.
Austin McNichols and Cassidy and Sadie Gulley peer into the butterfly house outside of David and Audrey Hardings’ home in Souderton as Audrey Harding places stickers on newly emerged Monarch butterflies to mark their age.